“The crowds chasing us in A Hard Day’s Night were based on moments like this,” McCartney writes. “Taken out of the back of our car on West Fifty-Eighth, crossing the Avenue of the Americas.”
NPR | By Stephen Thompson / Published January 25, 2023 at 12:00 PM ET
When the Beatles embarked on the tour that helped launch the British Invasion in 1964, Paul McCartney had a 35mm camera on hand to help document the history-making mayhem. Now, more than half a century later, McCartney’s never-before-seen photos from that tour are getting the coffee-table book treatment — as well as an exhibit at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Both collections will be titled 1964: Eyes of the Storm, both are due out in June and both will compile 275 photos taken as the band toured through Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, D.C. and Miami. McCartney himself wrote the book’s foreword, as well as notes reflecting on the shots he took — which include portraits of bandmates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
The archive’s title alludes to the massive attention the band received, as Beatlemania took hold — as McCartney asks in his foreword, “What else can you call it [but] pandemonium?” — and the four musicians experienced life-changing upheaval. The three never-before-seen photos on this page capture not only that overwhelming change, but also moments of quiet contemplation.
“Anyone who rediscovers a personal relic or family treasure is instantly flooded with memories and emotions, which then trigger associations buried in the haze of time,” McCartney writes in 1964: Eyes of the Storm. “This was exactly my experience in seeing these photos, all taken over an intense three-month period of travel, culminating in February 1964. It was a wonderful sensation to be plunged right back. Here was my own record of our first huge trip, a photographic journal of The Beatles in six cities, beginning in Liverpool and London, followed by Paris (where John and I had been ordinary hitchhikers three years before), and then what we regarded as the big time, our first visit as a group to America.”
The book 1964: Eyes of the Storm comes out June 13. McCartney’s photos will be part of an exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery running from June 28 to October 1.